Christopher Sullivan, Ph.D.; LPC
Director of Health, Counseling, and Disability Access Services
As the Clinical Director for Counseling Services, Dr. Chris Sullivan is the chief mental health officer on campus. He has over 20 years of experience working with college students and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Missouri. He completed his doctorate in counseling at UMSL, with an emphasis on multicultural counseling. His clinical work emphasizes a holistic approach to mental health, based on a strengths-oriented perspective focused on well-being and healing while taking into consideration the impact of culture, relationships, and the need for social justice in society. A proud native son of west-central Wisconsin, he loves spending time with his family, squeaky cheese curds, and getting (kind of) lost in the woods. And, yes, he does miss cold winters.
Tanadja "TJ" Barber, ATR, PLPC
Art Therapist & Outreach Coordinator
TJ Barber is an Art Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor. Originally from the state of Georgia, she received a Master of Art Therapy Counseling degree from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, IL. During her time as a clinician in community mental health, she enjoyed working with children and adolescents by utilizing Art and Play Therapy. She is excited to join UMSL and work with our students. TJ has significant experience in interpersonal violence, minority stress, sex/sexuality, and LGBTQIA+-related concerns. In therapy, TJ hopes to facilitate a safe and supportive environment to examine the inner critic and soften its tune to be more conducive to a sense of wellness. As an Art Therapist, she utilizes creativity to help express emotions, and improve self-esteem, and overall quality of life. She believes art materials come with inherent healing properties and that "scribbles and stick figures are valuable, too". In addition to individual and group therapy, TJ serves as UMSL's Outreach Coordinator, coordinating campus community events, workshops, and other opportunities. TJ enjoys cooking, crocheting, listening to music, and playing "The Sims" in her free time.
Abigail Gazvoda, M.Ed, PLPC
Abigail Gazvoda received her Master of Education with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Louisiana State University and is a provisionally licensed professional counselor in Missouri. In the fall, Abigail will begin her journey toward a Ph.D. in Counseling at UMSL. She has experience working with diverse populations in a variety of settings including intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, residential, and correctional/detention facilities. Her interests include substance use treatment, grief and loss, behavior change, CBT, and ACT. Through a person-centered and solution-focused approach, Abigail assists individuals in working toward achieving their goals while also improving holistic wellness. In her free time, Abigail enjoys hiking, camping, watching football (Geaux Tigers!), gardening, reading, and cuddling with her cat, Willow.
Melisa Martinez, MA
Staff Clinician & Multicultural Specialist
Melisa Martinez is a clinician and a doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology at Auburn University. Melisa also serves as the Multicultural Specialist and helps coordinate diversity, inclusion, and equity efforts within Counseling Services and the greater UMSL community. She has worked in several university counseling centers the most recent being at Norwich University. Melisa has a particular interest in working with students to address complex and racial trauma, identity concerns, substance use, and interpersonal issues. Melisa incorporates a variety of therapeutic styles in her work, including emotion-focused, strength-based, multicultural, and systems approaches. The work that Melisa does is particularly meaningful to her because of her upbringing and life journey as a first-generation Latina college graduate and the daughter of an immigrant. Melisa is passionate about helping students cope with the challenges of college so that they can graduate, achieve their dreams, and be successful. Melisa credits much of her success to the support and encouragement she has received from mentors, professors, friends, and family. In her free time, Melisa enjoys swimming, going to concerts, figuring out where to get the best tacos, cheering for Auburn football, and spending time with her Chihuahua, Nani.
Karen Munkel, MSW, LCSW
Karen Munkel received her Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. She enjoys working with a wide variety of people and issues that include sexuality, gender, LGBTQ issues, interpersonal and relationship issues, issues with identity or spirituality, trauma, grief, depression, and anxiety. She is invested in a holistic clinical approach that incorporates using existing strengths and encouraging new ideas to move towards a greater sense of well-being and personal fulfillment. In counseling, Karen hopes to create a warm and supportive atmosphere to allow collaboration in working toward the client’s goals. She enjoys open expression about the therapy process and values clients as leaders in the change process. She is a St. Louis native who has done extensive traveling, spending time living in Europe and the Caribbean and loves to travel any chance she can get. Karen has a background in theatre, having worked as a Stage Manager in New York City, and is a believer in putting art, inspiration, and expression into our everyday lives in whatever form it takes.
Margaret Allen Crocker
Margaret Allen Crocker is an MSW student at the Brown School at Washington University in Saint Louis. She takes a client-centered and strengths-based approach to therapy and is interested in dialectical behavioral therapy, emotion-focused therapy, and internal family systems work. She works with a variety of individuals including those experiencing anxiety, depression, stress, grief, loss, and LGBTQ+ concerns. Margaret is passionate about improving college and university student's mental health in all areas of college life. Before pursuing her MSW, Margaret studied and taught art history at the college level. In her free time, she maintains her love of contemporary art as well as gardening, hiking, and spending time with her friends, family, and her two wonderful cats.
In Loving Memory
Erin Vasconcelles, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist, Clinical Lead & Training Coordinator
Erin Vasconcelles, who served 13 years as a clinical psychologist in HCDAS, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. She was 44.
Dr. Erin Vasconcelles received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Bowling Green State University and was a Licensed Psychologist in Missouri. She worked in many university counseling centers throughout her career and at UMSL since 2010. Erin had many clinical interests including the treatment of anxiety and depression, interpersonal relationships, and identity-related concerns. She also had significant training and interest in sports psychology and performance-related concerns. Erin’s clinical approach was best described as warm, client-centered, and strengths-based. She saw her role as a therapist as assisting her clients as they identify their therapeutic goals, explore the cultural and relational contexts which shape their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and values, and learn skills that will support the process of change. In addition to providing individual therapy, Erin also served as the Training Coordinator for the training program for advanced graduate students and provides individual and group supervision. In her free time, Erin was an avid sports fan and can be found rooting for her beloved St. Louis Cardinals and Green Bay Packers. She was passionate about growing orchids and enjoyed spending time with her family, friends, and furry children.
Erin was well respected by her colleagues and throughout the UMSL community, and her loss will be deeply felt by so many. We will all miss her compassion, organization, tenacity, and dry sense of humor.